ACHA D1 National Tournament: Weekend Edition

With the ACHA D1 tournament officially underway, I am starting up my normal Fanpost with the rolling updates and the open-threadery (which consists of me giving random updates while watching the games from my computer). I'm hoping that this year brings the opportunity to post a midweek version for the semifinals and championship game.

Friday Recap: Friday saw the first four games, which I have been referring to as the "Play-in" games.

  • Action opened up with #13 Oakland against #20 Mercyhurst. The Lakers kept the game close through the first period, but Oakland would score 5 goals in the 2nd period to help propel the Grizzlies to an easy 8-0 win.
  • That was followed by one of the more intriguing games, as #19 Drexel gave #14 Davenport all they could handle. The defending-champion Panthers held a 2-1 lead late into the third period, before finally being able to put away a determined Drexel Dragons team, winning 4-1.
  • #17 West Virginia showed that winning your conference title in November means basically nothing, as they outplayed #16 Rutgers for most of the game. The Mountaineers rolled to a 5-1 win and a date with Penn State in the next round.
  • Host team #18 Kent State closed the night against #15 Central Oklahoma. In one of those rare games where two bad teams put on a classic, Central Oklahoma came 1 second from winning the game in regulation, but the refs called a (correct) penalty shot for Kent State when the Bronchos knocked their own net off. The Golden Flashes would convert the penalty shot and send the game into OT. The overtime period was filled with sloppy play from both teams, and finally a Kent State turnover led to the game-winning goal for UCO, giving the Bronchos a 2-1 OT win.

At the end of the day, the new first round did its intended job - send the weakest (and perhaps undeserving) teams home early, giving way to a respectable group of 16 teams. Of the 4 teams going home, 3 are regular season champion autobids from weaker leagues, and the 4th is the host team autobid. Even though the ACHA D1 is a bit weaker this year, the remaining 16 teams provide for some interesting match-ups starting in the 2nd round.

Saturday Recap: Here's a quick recap of second round games from Saturday.

  • #12 Adrian defeats #5 Liberty, 6-3. The Bulldogs continued their hot streak, as they used a 5-goal 2nd period upset #5 Liberty. They started to let Liberty creep back into the game in the third, but closed the door and finished off an impressive victory
  • #13 Oakland defeats #4 Arizona State, 3-2 (OT). Arizona State came out firing in the first period, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. But the Grizzlies would not go quietly, responding with 2 of their own in the second period. A scoreless third led to the overtime, where Oakland would complete the upset of the tournament thus far, scoring almost 13 minutes into the OT period and making it a 3-2 win.
  • #6 Ohio defeats #11 Illinois, 5-4. In an odd back-and-forth match-up, the Ohio Bobcats pulled out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first period. The Illini would make it 3-2 before Ohio would counter with two goals of their own, making it 5-2 after two periods. Still, the Illini would not go away, scoring two more goals in the third before running out of time to complete the comeback.
  • #3 Delaware defeats #14 Davenport, 3-1. Delaware had starting goaltender SJ Broadt in net, which definitely helped. The teams would trade goals in the first, and it would remain 1-1 into the third period. Delaware would capitalize on an early power play, before adding another goal just a few minutes later. Broadt would stand tall, as Delaware knocked the defending national champions from the tournament.
  • #9 Oklahoma defeats #8 Iowa State, 8-2. Remember how I mentioned that Oklahoma can be good if they want to be? Iowa State saw how true that was, going down 2-0 quickly. Just when the Cyclones looked to be getting back into the game, they took some penalties and killed all their momentum. It was 5-0 early in the second period, and the Sooners would roll easily in this one.
  • #1 Penn State defeats #17 West Virginia, 4-1. If there's anything we've learned, it's that the Icers hate playing on Saturday. WVU would score first on the power play. The Icers would counter with just 8 seconds left in the 1st period with a power play goal of their own. A scoreless second made for a interesting third period, where the Icers would finally take the lead and pull away late in a near-scare against WVU.
  • #7 Minot State defeats #10 Robert Morris (IL), 6-3. RMU looked to have all the momentum early, going up 2-0 in the first. But then it became all Minot State, as they would score the next 5 goals. RMU finally took advantage of the Beavers' prevent defense, but MJ23 (yeah, I'm using it) closed the door on any comeback hopes for Robert Morris.
  • #2 Lindenwood defeats #15 Central Oklahoma, 5-2. In a seemingly reoccurring theme for the day, Lindenwood jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on UCO. Slowly, UCO would make it a game again, closing the gap to 3-2 after two periods. Although the Bronchos were in their prime position for an upset, a bad bounce led to a very weak goal for Lindenwood. The Lions would add a late PPG for good measure and make sure UCO would not pull the upset of the day.

Sunday's Action: Here are the quarterfinal games slated for Sunday:

  • #13 Oakland defeats #12 Adrian, 5-4. This game was back-and-forth through the first 30 minutes, as Oakland would get a lead, and Adrian would comeback to tie. Oakland would extend their lead to 5-2 before Adrian would slowly crawl their way back into the game. But the Bulldogs would run out of time, and Oakland would be the first team heading to the semis with a 5-4 win.
  • #3 Delaware defeats #6 Ohio, 5-4 (2OT). In a classic between two historic ACHA teams, this game turned into a heavyweight battle with the teams trading blows. Every time Ohio would score, the Blue Hens were there to tie it back up; each time Delaware tied the game, Ohio would counter with another go-ahead goal. Midway through the 3rd period, the goalies became the stars, as they wouldn't allow a goal until a 2nd overtime period, when Delaware would finally break through and punch their ticket into the semifinals.
  • #1 Penn State defeats #9 Oklahoma, 6-3. If the Icers insane comeback in February wasn't bizarre enough for these two teams, this game took it to a new level. The Sooners would jump out to 2-0 and 3-1 leads before the Icers would tie the game 3-3 heading into the final period. At the end of the 2nd, a scrum between Justin Kirchhevel and the Oklahoma goalie forced the OU goalie to the penalty box to start the final period. The Icers would capitalize, scoring 2 quick goals, propelling them to 6-3 victory and a trip to the semis.
  • #2 Lindenwood vs. #7 Minot State, 8:00p.m. After the two teams traded goals in the first period, Lindenwood decided to take over. A five-goal 2nd period by the Lions all but killed any hopes of an upset for Minot State. The Beavers would make a strong push in the 3rd period, putting up 3 goals to close the gap to 6-4. But time would fall short on the Minot State comeback, and Lindenwood would add an empty net goal to seal up a 7-4 win and be the last semifinalist.

The remaining teams all get Monday off, and then get back at it on Tuesday. The teams are reseeded for the semis (not that it really makes much difference in this case), so #1 Penn State will take on #13 Oakland at 5:00, and #2 Lindenwood will take on #3 Delaware at 8:00. Wednesday will have the championship game at 7:30 p.m.

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